Tuesday, May 31, 2011

In Communion

I can't believe it has been a month since I last posted on the blog. It has been a month of chapter meetings: first in Brisbane, Australia, then on Long Island, NY at Little Portion. Both meetings were good and interesting.

But combine jet lag with meeting-lag and I didn't have much juice in my batteries!

These past few days, however, I've been able to get back up on my feet and begin to do some things. Most enjoyably, I've been gardening. I've got blisters to prove it, and the flower boxes are now brimming with marigolds, shrubs have been pruned and the terraces swept. It is hard to do this around Little Portion without thinking abut all the brothers before me who have popped their blisters doing the same tasks. I feel very closely connected with them, part of the continuity of religious life, the "Quotidian Mysteries" Kathleen Norris writes about. Every day mystery of communion with brothers, nature, God: the communion of saints and the communion of the cosmos.

As I swept this morning I remember how Jon and I would watch the bees and drink coffee together next to the herb garden, resting from weeding. Jason would smoke his pipe and spend his summer evenings joyously weeding a lush English border he'd planted next to the arbor. Dunstan still weeds with a table fork and has a personal relationship with every bulb and bush ever planted at Little Portion, as well as living on a first name basis with the chipmunks and the birds.

Yesterday I was running along Shore Road, along Mt. Sinai Harbor, and a box turtle was just edging out onto the road. Fearing for its safety I snatched it up and carried it across the road: power to the box turtle!

Inside I typed up all the Norms and Policies for the Province so that they could be restored to our Manuals. These too are a trip down memory lane. Every Norm, which is really a statement about things we have agreed upon as a chapter, is a story. I remember why we said we wanted brothers to learn Spanish. I remember why we agonized for a long time over job descriptions. There are older norms about participating in demonstrations: I can just hear the brothers debating it, and the differing points of view. These ancestor brothers still have a vote, as their opinions have been captured in the Provincial Norms.